Most of the sidewalks in New York city are long, straight and predictable. It is a big city with lots of people wanting to travel many places quickly. Many years ago city planners came up with the good idea of simply assigning numbers to all the streets roads and thoroughfares. So as the busy populace moved about they could know exactly where they were and just how many blocks they had to travel before they reached their destination.
84th ave in Queens is unusual in that is not straight and well defined. From 168th st. it takes a large sweeping curve as it makes its way towards 164th st. Tucked up against a low brick wall beside Thomas Edison High is a little eddy of peace. Students and teachers rush up and down the sidewalk all year long and yet by taking just one or 2 gentle steps out of the torrent, you will immediately find yourself to be free of the pull and tide of rushing humanity.
There is a very unique and sacred history written very large here on this little spot, and yet you would be hard pressed to see it or even know that it even exists. There is no plaque or inscription of any kind to prove and point out its significance, but many people know it just the same. There is always a special feeling they get when they look there and when they walk by. It is a place that Sri Chinmoy held dear from almost the very moment he created his Self Transcendence 3100 mile race. A place in later years that he could come and inspire his runners and he too perhaps be inspired. Even now as the 3100 mile runners go by they still feel its sweet bright promise. It is a silent treasure of peace in a world awash with haste and hurry. People rushing about and still going nowhere
For just about 20 minutes each day of the race a group of girl singers come here and perform. They are called the Enthusiasm Awakeners. 5 years ago today Sri Chinmoy gave them that name. Each one wearing the same brightly colored shirts, that as the week progresses shifts through a rainbow of colors.
They stand close together up next to the wall and they sing the songs that Sri Chinmoy taught them. Many right there, a new one each day of the race. He would come early, before the clutter of cars made the roads chaotic. He would drive up in a shiny little red car and park near the wall. The window would come down for just a few minutes, out would come a simple English song composed, probably on the spot, and then he was gone.
We most often think of historical moments as grand sweeping affairs. Thousands gathered at Gettysburg to hear Lincoln. The Mall in Washington overflowing with a multitude to hear the stirring words of Dr. King. Moments that marked pivotal shifts in the life of this nation if not the world.
Yet what happened here is historic in a way that history cannot record very well nor understand. Here a spiritual master came each day all summer long and composed short simple songs on Enthusiasm. Watched tired runners discover smiles, which they sometimes didn’t think they could still possibly have within their tired bodies. Runners who embraced and embarked on a journey, so far beyond the limits of possibility, that it simply doesn’t make any sense on the physical plane.
God works in mysterious ways it is said, and if your eyes cannot still see it here, your heart may yet be able to reach out and embrace the miracle of this little place. One that occurred just beyond the sight and senses of sleeping humanity, but one freely available to all who are seeking out, and want to journey to, the highest heights of heaven.
God’s main food,
He begs me to eat
For my good.
Composed by Sri Chinmoy on December 19, 1999
Yogurt always awaits the runners when they come in the morning.
Pedro has been working on a physiological study of the runners.
The Enthusiasm Awakeners have come extra early this morning
They are going to celebrate their anniversary in a big way.
Start Day 41
Sarvagata had a good day yesterday and ran 68 miles. He has just 400 miles to go.
Vasu has less than 700 miles to go and Atmavir has 600 more miles
Parvati: “5 years ago tonight Sri Chinmoy gave us the name Enthusiasm Awakeners. So we are celebrating that, our name anniversary.”
What do you see in the runners?
Paree: “Patience. I mean it is really symbolic of our journey, inwardly also. Just step after step, day after day. For a really long time. Never to give up hope, and the distance is so long. They really just take it one step at a time. For me that is really inspiring.”
Bahula: “You really have the sense of a spiritual journey. I think for me this year I have really noticed the spirituality and the sense of offering, and consciousness that they bring to it. Very moving and very beautiful.”
Samahita: “It needs so much determination. When you think not just to run all day but they face the weather, the heat, the humidity, thunderstorms everything. It is so much perseverance and determination, everything.”
Sanyogita: “It is like a life blessing to watch the race. To see how they can overcome obstacles, and always transcend and go beyond things that are bothering them or affecting them on any given day. This is truly inspiring to watch it.”
Joey: “Greatest inspiration. It is wonderful to be out here watching.”
Aranyani: “Sri Chinmoy always said that the way to make progress was to have a goal. And they are showing us that when you have a goal, even when you are tired. Even when the weather is bad, and you just want to give it up the goal compels you forward, so that when you remember that in our lives, and hold our goal dear, then you will also continue through the difficult times.”
Savita: “They all have to stay in a good consciousness in order to complete the journey and to have satisfaction in the journey. So when we see them we see that their consciousness is good and they are trying to maintain that happiness and equilibrium despite all the difficulties they have inwardly and outwardly. All the challenges so the good consciousness is really an inspiration.”
Kakali: “I find it amazingly moving so see how willing they are to suffer for a greater cause. To through their physical suffering and dig down so deep that God knows what they are finding inside of themselves. But know that it is for a greater cause. For their own progress and for manifestation, and I think for the evolution of the whole world. What they are doing is magnificent.”
Click to Play Interview
For the runners there are many gifts including new shirts and interesting toys.
Lots of snacks and food many catered to the runners particular tastes and needs.
The singers know the runners well and the runners appreciate the service that the girls give each day for them.
“For me they were and will be the number one group. Not only in enthusiasm but also sincerity, in self giving, in pure voices and everything. The personally know all the runners. So much inspiration and real enthusiasm, from their service. I can not imagine them coming every morning, at a quarter to seven.”
” Bad weather good weather, every morning they are coming and they are offering us songs and inspiration and they are doing it very very soulfully and sincerely. All the runners feel it. So we are really so grateful and appreciate that, for many years. I am one of the runners who are just waiting for a quarter to seven for them to arrive and to build our day. Actually our day begins with the Enthusiasm Awakeners. A proper beginning.”
Click to Play Interview
There are so many other parts to the day and to the journey
Day will quickly move into night and all the faces on the course change except the faces of the 11 who run here.
Grahak’s brother Ian, who is visiting, did a little wet service this morning to a clogged drain.
“They do such a huge favor. Many mornings when I come I just feel like going into the van and sleep. Then I think, I can’t go before I see the Enthusiasm Awakeners. By the time I pass by them 3 times I am usually awake. So it is huge. They are so enthusiastic I am very very grateful. Enthusiasm is not an easy quality for me to get every day and they are helping me immensely.”
“I think that they spent so much time with Sri Chinmoy there on that particular spot that just going there gives them a thrill and it brings back all those happy moments and they put that into their singing and then we also get it. Though I was never physically there when Sri Chinmoy was there in the morning giving them songs and prayers. So they bring Sri Chinmoy physically on the course. That is really really nice.”
Click to Play Interview
Antana recites the Poem of the Day
|Enthusiasm Awakeners….Click to Play….
Enthusiasm is a divine gift,
And this divine gift
We get from higher worlds.
Life-satisfaction is lost;
God-perfection in man
Remains a far cry.